3 nights in a row I had the same dream. I came across a small, cute, innocent, injured animal who spoke to me and asked for help: A stray cat missing an eye, a puppy who was abused and abandoned, and a little turtle missing a leg. All three were sad and scared and on the edge of death. I tried to save them, but couldn’t.
I listen to my dreams, and the things they tell me.
To me, these three dreams of poor, defenseless creatures represented an attachment I still held to a victim mentality around the traumas of my youth.
These dreams came the the night before, the night of, and the night after my radio interview with Adam Rothenberg on Call Me Adam. I was excited and nervous about doing an hour long radio interview (even if it was going to be broken up by live recordings form One Woman Show). Whenever I have to speak publicly, I always say a little prayer that the spirit of wisdom speak through me. I trust that divine guidance will loose the right words from my heart.
Sometimes we do things before we’re ready. Sometimes we try to take something on before we have the skills to navigate it with grace. Sometimes we push ourselves to get over something, to move on, too quick. I first came out as transgender in 2001. In 2002, to quote Paris is Burning, “she went back to being a man.”
In 2004, I spoke at an LGBT retreat at UC Riverside about why. And even that, I wasn’t ready for.
Something happened on this radio show that was totally unforeseen, but also totally important, and I guess this time I was totally ready to do it.
Some people have a lot of closets to come out of. Sometimes we open one door to find we’re still trapped behind another. And that’s life I suppose, a process of opening (or kicking down, in my case) the doors that lead to fullest expression of our souls. Coming out as Gay was one thing, coming out as Trans another, and coming out as Christian also a doosey. But coming out as a survivor of sexual assault, specifically as a male-bodied transgender woman, was–up till now–particularly difficult. How do you explain that at 6″2′, 220 lbs, you’re still able to be a victim of sexual violence? How do you justify that the female sexuality you’ve alternately stifled, cultivated, and fought to express, can be used against you?
I don’t identify with victimhood, not consciously anyway. But I think as long as we keep stories of suffering locked away, they continue to gnaw at our self worth. In my dreams last week, I was desperate to save these sweet, unjustly injured beings. My panic could do nothing to stave off their pain, neither could my grief or guilt bring back the lives they lost. So now, I let them go. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson, “Thus are the spiritual mysteries of the universe, the constant process of dying to who we used to be as we actualize our divine potential.”
Aho. Amen. Salaam. Shalom. Werk.
If you’re curious, you can listen to the full interview here, streaming, or download it HERE as a podcast.